How is posterior drainage of the elbow performed in the treatment of septic arthritis?

Updated: Feb 11, 2020
  • Author: Gabriel Munoz, MD; Chief Editor: Thomas M DeBerardino, MD  more...
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For posterior drainage, the approach is as follows:

  • Parallel longitudinal incisions are made on each side of the olecranon and continued proximally for 7.5 cm
  • The incisions are deepened through the medial lateral border of the triceps aponeurosis into the posterior compartment of the joint
  • Injury to the ulnar nerve should be avoided
  • After treatment, the elbow is splinted at 90° and the forearm is kept in neutral rotation; active range-of-motion (AROM) exercises are started after wound healing

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